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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
“This program offered me true insight into the imperfectly frustrating and beautiful work that is real, sustainable impact and I come away inspired and hungry.” - Joe J., University of Connecticut, Guatemala

Programatic
Should applicants have special qualifications?
How many participants will be in country at one time?
Can I speak with a recent program participant?
How can you ensure that participants have a positive experience?
Where do participants study Spanish?
How old do I have to be to participate?
What clothes etc should I bring with me?
Can couple apply and be accomidated?


Accommodations
What are the participant accommodations?
Could you tell me more about the homestays?
Will my special needs be addressed?
Do participants live alone or in groups?
Are all of my meals covered?
Will I get sick from eating the food or drinking the water?
How far away are the accommodations from where I will be learning/working?

Transportation
What visas are required?
How do I get there?
How will participants travel while in country?

Saftey and Security
What steps do you take to create a safe environment?
What is the protocol in case of emergency?
What is the basic emergency action plan?
How will I communicate with others in an emergency situation?
Money
Do you offer scholarships?
How much money should I bring?


Healthcare
What about travel health insurance?
What vaccinations are necessary?
Do people get sick?
What will happen if I get very sick during my program?
What is the process if I need medical attention while in country?


Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionProgrammatic
Should applicants have specific qualifications?
Below we have provided guidelines for general applicant qualifications. In addition to this information, please visit the specific program page that you are interested in to learn more about the suggested applicant qualifications for that program. For all program participants a history of achievement is important. As well, given the nature of the program, an applicant’s personal qualities play a large role in determining whether or not he/she is accepted. Participants will be living and working in challenging environments and as such the “intangibles” are fundamental to participant success. 

Participants in all Social Entrepreneur Corps programs should:

  • Recognize that they are going to have a profound impact but are not going to “change the world in a day”
  • Possess a positive outlook on the prospects for assisting local people to solve local problems
  • Be hard-working, open-minded, open-hearted, collaborative and teamwork-oriented individuals
  • Be individuals who take initiative and are resourceful self-starters
  • Take their work and responsibilities very seriously but not take themselves too seriously
  • Be very desirous of learning about development, relief and social entrepreneurship
  • Be willing and able to live for a time in a challenging developing country environment
  • Be willing and desirous of “getting your hands dirty”

Participants in Social Entrepreneur Corps programs NEED NOT:

  • Have international living experience
  • Have Spanish language experience  (language classes are a part of the program and one’s success is not necessarily correlated to Spanish speaking skills before entering)
  • Have business or development experience

How many participants will be in country at one time?
The number of participants in country at any given time varies by program.  There are never more than 10 participants for each Social Entrepreneur Corps expatriate staff member.

Can I speak to a recent program participant?
Yes, please contact info@socialentrepreneurcorps.com and a staff member can put you in contact with SE Corps Alumni. As not to flood alumni with emails, we request that potential participants submit an online application as well as participate in an interview session with our staff before we facilitate this communication. 

Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionHow do you ensure that participants have a positive experience?
Our staff ensures that you have a positive experience by intelligently planning their time and work.  There is a great amount of short-term work done by participants that adds long term value. In addition, you will support local social entrepreneurs working with in an already established network.  It is only through this unique infrastructure that you are able to “hit the ground running” and add immediate value in the field.

Where do participants study Spanish?
You will study Spanish with our trained staff or with high quality third party providers.

How old do I have to be?
We recommend that all participants have at least finished their first year of college.  This is to ensure that all participants are academically prepared for the material that will be covered and discussed.

What clothes, etc. should I bring with me?
Once an intern has confirmed their participation in any one of the programs he/she will receive a packet that includes reading materials as well as a list of recommended items to pack.

Can couples apply and be accommodated?
Couples can apply and be accommodated in the program with the understanding that they will need to be flexible and understand that the staff will do everything to be accommodating, but there may be slight changes in living situations.  It is very difficult to place couples that are not married in a single room with host families as it is a sensitive cultural matter.  Please contact us if you have specific questions regarding living arrangements.

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Homestay DRAccommodations
What are the participant accommodations?
Participants stay in two different types of accommodations, homestays with local families and hotel/hostels.  All homestay families have previous experience with foreigners and have been trained and certified by Social Entrepreneur Corps.  All hotels/hostels are secure and in safe areas.

Could you tell me more about the homestays?
All homestay families are trained by Social Entrepreneur Corps. As such, these families understand the needs of the participants and specific expectations of Social Entrepreneur Corps. The homestay is an essential step in helping participants gain an understanding of how local people live and work. It is an invaluable way to improve on classroom Spanish. The vast majority of Social Entrepreneur Corps participants end up forming great friendships during this process.

Criteria for Social Entrepreneur Corps homestay certification:

  • The house is maintained in a clean and orderly state.
  • There is a private room for the participant with the minimum of a bed, a dresser, and a light, flooring, a window, and a lock on the door.
  • There must be a bathroom with a door.
  • The house has an outside door with a lock.
  • The family creates a kind, safe, and welcoming, and supportive living environment.
  • The family agrees to provide three meals a day, a constant supply of bottled or filtered safe-drinking water, and the participant should be offered to have their laundry done weekly.
  • The host mother completes training on safe food handling and preparation, water sanitation, keeping clean and healthy homes; furthermore, they learn how to provide language, emotional, and cultural support for participants. This training consists of the following key elements:
    • Emergency Plan and 24 Communication Chain – Who to call and what to do in an emergency
    • Expectations and standards of hygiene and security of the house, and in particular, the room where the participant is living (i.e. each student’s room needs to have its own door with functioning lock with key).
    • Specific best practices for keeping a healthy and safe participant (i.e. food preparation and curfew)
    • Suggestions to help bridge the communication gap and language barrier
    • A formal contract in which families agree to provide the participant with the services required. All families must undergo continuous training on an annual basis and receive positive participant/leadership evaluations as a requirement for renewing the contract.
  • The family understands the importance of disinfecting fruits and vegetables and preparing food in a way that keeps in mind a participant’s stomach.
  • The family understands the responsibilities and challenges that come with hosting a foreigner, and is willing, capable, and excited to do so.

Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionWill my special needs be addressed?
All special needs should be communicated to staff before arrival so that in-country staff can address any special needs.

Do participants live alone or in groups?
One to two participant stays with each homestay family.  When participants stay in hostels, they generally stay in a room with one to two other participants of the same gender.  

Are all of my meals covered?
Please see the information for your specific program. 

Will I get sick from eating the food or drinking the water?
The water that flows out of faucets is generally not safe to drink.  Purified water is readily accessible. Participants have to be careful when choosing restaurants and street food, but upon arrival all participants take part in an orientation session where we go through all the do's and don’ts of eating and drinking while in country. 

How far away are the accommodations from where I will be learning/working?
The distance from lodging to work sites varies from site to site. In all countries, during our foundation building segment, our headquarters sites (where participants spend the first part of their trip) are a 30 minute bus ride maximum from homestay accommodations.  During the field segments of the program distances will vary based upon the desired outcomes of the initiative and the opportunity at hand.

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Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionTransportation
What visas are required?
There are no visas required.  Upon entry participants will get a stamp in their passport which is valid for a 90 day stay. After 90 days the person must renew their visa in the capital or leave the country and re-enter.

How do I get there?
All participants should arrive at the designated arrival destination.  A staff member will be waiting upon arrival to take the participant to the headquarters site where the program begins.

How will participants travel while in country?
While traveling from site to site, participants travel in private shuttle buses or secure local transportation.  While working in a site, participants use public transportation, which generally consists of shuttle buses and school buses.  

Participants will be required to walk while participating in certain field activities and will have the opportunity to hike while on off days. If you are concerned about the amount of walking to be included (if you suffer from asthma for example), please contact us.  

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Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionSafety and Security
What steps do you take to create a safe environment?
Our team lives and works in the countries where Social Entrepreneur Corps has programs. Social Entrepreneur Corps places the highest priority on health and security issues. To date, Social Entrepreneur Corps has been fortunate in that no participants have suffered from any notable health or security problems. Social Entrepreneur Corps continuously maintains leadership in the field with participants to oversee security and health issues. All participants are equipped with a cell phone upon arrival in country, check in with the proper authorities and are provided with the training and information necessary to appropriately minimize health and security risks. Our staff discusses safety and security issues with participants in interactive and clear ways so that all participants can make smart decisions about their own personal safety. Leadership is available on a 24-hour basis and has a full database of health facilities and police stations/contacts. In addition, Social Entrepreneur Corps maintains a strong relationship with the Peace Corps.

All homestay families are trusted and have previous experience hosting foreigners and all hostels and hotels are in secure areas. All inter-site travel takes place on a shuttle bus or secure local transportation. There is at the least one staff member for every 10 participants and there is always an on-duty staff member in every site to ensure the safety of the group and help in any emergency situation. We also have very well defined safety procedures that mimic those of the Peace Corps. 

What is the protocol in case of emergency?
Upon any real or perceived emergency or at any time when there is concern with regards to a health or safety situation, participants are required to communicate with one or more of the Social Entrepreneur Corps designated leaders and await instructions. Leadership will communicate with one of the directors of the program to consult and advise as to appropriate next steps. If for any reason a participant is separated he/she will return to the nearest of the office, hotel or home stay and communicate with leadership via telephone. The participant will wait in such place until leadership provides further instructions.

What is the basic emergency action plan?
Following is an outline of the Emergency Action Plan for participants which Social Entrepreneur Corps maintains and which has contributed to the well being of participants in the past. During the orientation session risks and risk mitigation procedures are discussed in depth and agreed upon.
Conditions that contribute to risk:

  • Being out after dark
  • Being alone at night in an isolated area
  • Being in a known high crime area
  • Being with unfamiliar people
  • Being out after a local curfew
  • Being intoxicated

Strategies to reduce risk:

  • Listening for what is being said around them
  • Keeping watch for suspicious people and vehicles
  • Knowing what hours of the night are more dangerous than others
  • 20
  • Staying in and walking only in those areas that are well lit
  • Avoiding being alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods
  • Knowing where to get help (stores, phones, fire station, etc.)

Requirements and procedures to follow in at risk situations:

Social Entrepreneur Corps leadership and participants must at all times:

  • Notify all parties involved in Social Entrepreneur Corps of any perceived or real current or potential risk
  • Have all participant information on hand including passport, medical and emergency contact information
  • Carry a cellular telephone
  • Carry a map of the region they are visiting and review the local area with participants
  • Have all US Embassy, local hospital, clinic and transportation information on hand
  • Have phone numbers of all leadership staff on hand
  • Have $100 in cash on hand

Summary Emergency Action Plan:
1. Upon the either perceived or real incidence of any risk situation on an individual, group, local, regional or national level, all leadership and participants are to proceed to the nearest designated “Safe Spot” and stand down while contacting the directors of Social Entrepreneur Corps. As such, if the directors of Social Entrepreneur Corps become aware of any risk either perceived or real, they will contact leadership to advise them of next steps. When appropriate the directors will contact the US Embassy and US Peace Corps to receive advice as to how to proceed.

Social Entrepreneur Corps in action2. Upon communication, leadership and participants will be advised by the directors as to next step and at all times the most cautionary steps will be taken.

3. If necessary, Social Entrepreneur Corps will terminate the program in the most appropriate manner and return participants to their destination of origin on an expedited basis.

How will I communicate with others in an emergency situation?
All participants will receive a cellular phone upon arrival in country so as to facilitate contact with leadership and other participants as well as with family and friends in the United States. Participants are responsible for maintaining this telephone in good state. Participants will be assigned a “buddy” while in country and are responsible for communicating with leadership if there is any concern as to the “buddy’s welfare. Rules for “buddies" will be stated upon arrival in country.

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Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionMoney
Do you offer scholarships?
We unfortunately cannot offer scholarships, but there are many partner universities that do offer scholarships to their students for participation in our programs. 

How much money should I bring?
There are ATMs located in each of the sites where participants will be located. Traveler’s checks are easily changed in banks located throughout the country.  We will address specific monetary requirements in the post application process. At most during our eight week program we recommend that participants bring $400 to $450.  

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Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionHealthcare
What about travel health insurance?
Health Insurance is not included in the program fee and it is required that all participants are covered by health insurance during their time in country.  Proof of insurance will be requested and should be provided before departing for your program.  If your regular plan does not cover foreign countries there are a variety of companies who provide short-term travel insurance. We will provide you with names of insurance carriers. 
 
What vaccinations are necessary?
There are no vaccinations required by Social Entrepreneur Corps, however, ALL participants are advised to visit their doctor to determine if any vaccinations or medications are necessary/recommended as each individual has a different medical and vaccine history.

Do people get sick?
People do get sick during their time.  This is unfortunately unavoidable given the change in environment. This is generally an upset stomach and mild traveler’s diarrhea.  Most illnesses that occur are stomach problems and are easily treatable.  

Social Entrepreneur Corps in actionWhat will happen if I get very sick during my program?
All staff members are trained in what steps to take if someone falls ill or has an emergency.  We have identified a trusted medical center in each site where participants will be spending their time.  The appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that any sick participants will be well cared for.   

What is the process if I need medical attention while in country?
Participants must not be treated by a local doctor without first consulting with the Social Entrepreneur Corps leadership. Should any medical emergency arise which precludes the participants ability to consent to emergency treatment when such authorization is required, Social Entrepreneur Corps leadership will endeavor to communicate with the person(s) previously designated by the participant as the “Emergency Contact” to request permission for any necessary treatment. If Social Entrepreneur Corps personnel believe, in their sole discretion, that time or circumstances do not permit such communication, the participant authorizes Social Entrepreneur Corps to consent on his or her behalf to any medical treatment, including all types of medical examinations, diagnosis, medication, treatment, or physician or hospital care, that is deemed advisable by, and is to be rendered under, the general or special supervision of any physician and surgeon.

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